Kusamba Beach, a Peaceful Shore in Southeast Bali

kusamba beachBali is blessed with so many beautiful beaches around its island. It seems like every coastline in Bali is amazing and captivating. Of course not all beaches are famous, however some of these infamous beaches have a stunning beauty and unique characteristics that the others don’t have. One of these beaches is Kusamba Beach which is located in Kusamba Village, Dawan District, Klungkung Regency. This beach is approximately 7 km eastern of Semarapura Town; the capital of Klungkung. If you want to visit this beach you will need around 90 minute drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport, or take around 29 km route.

Kusamba Beach is surely amazing with shiny black sand and beautiful panorama also completed with natural and peaceful ambience. You will be able to see colorful boats decorating the beach line which are the property of the people from a fisherman village around here. This beach is quite popular for its persistent fishermen and its traditional sea salt farming. The fishermen and salt farmers here are still sticking to their inherited tradition for catching fish and creating salt. By promoting this beach as one of the tourism object in Klungkung, the local government hopes that the economy of this region can be raised. Tourists who come to this beach can directly observe the fishermen’s activities on the sea and sea salt farmers’ farming process right on the shore.

Early in the morning, the salt farmers have already started their farming activity. By using teku, some kind of sea water container made of palm stem, they walk down the beach to take sea water. After the teku is full, the sea water is splashed over the prepared sand area. They walk on the sand while shaking the teku-teku they carry on their shoulder. This process is repeated until all the area is wet by the sea water. Weather is an important factor in the process of traditional salt farming. The brighter the sun, the better the result will be. The heat of the sun will make the wet sand mixed well with the sea water. The catchment water which is already mixed well with the sand is then gathered in a bamboo container. The catchment water will drip from the bamboo into the prepared container. There are 2 containers with simple filtering system for the water. After that, these water will be dried under the sun to get the salt crystals.

salt farmers kusamba beach baliBesides fishing and salt farming, the people in Kusamba also do side jobs like ferrying daily needs like rice, seeds, or fruits to Nusa Penida, a deserted island across of Bali. Using big boat, they can deliver up to 1.5 ton goods to Nusa Penida. Besides that, they can also reach Nusa Lembongan, a small island near Nusa Penida. They usually cross from Banjar Tri Buanan Beach, Banjar Bias Beach, Kampung Islam Beach, with crossing time around 30 minutes until 2 hours depending on the boat that they use. Not just that, these boats can also carry the tourists who want to snorkeling and diving in those islands.

Segara Beach in Kusumba is also quite interesting because this beach is often used as traditional ritual place like nganyut which is still the series of ngaben ceremony. Besides that, around this beach there is also a fish market where various fresh fish with low prices can be gotten. If you want to visit this fish market, you must go here between 10.00 am until 4 pm.

Actually, there is no particular naming history of this beach. It was named Kusamba Beach just because this beach is located in Kusamba Village. However, if it is related to history, this beach has recorded as one historical place in the Indonesian Independence War. In 23 – 24 of May 1849he , Balinese troops were able to defeat Dutch armies. Moreover, Dutch important officer at that time, Lieutenant General Michiel was killed by the brave Balinese troops.

karangasem hotel

If you want to visit this beach you don’t need to worry because some public facilities for tourists have already built, such as restaurants, food stalls, parking area and boat rental for tourists who want to visit the other nearest islands. Kusamba Beach can be a good alternative if you are bored by the crowd of the other beaches in Bali. This beach offers tranquility, peaceful environment, and beautiful panorama for its visitors.

Beng Village, The Centre of the Famous Barong Shirt Manufacture

barong shirt baliIf you are having holiday in Bali, getting unique souvenirs and gifts for your relatives is a must. One of the most typical souvenirs you can get in Bali is “Barong Shirt” or locally known as “Baju barong”. This shirt is very unique and has been becoming popular for domestic and foreign tourists. The naming itself comes from the barong picture shown on the front and back of the shirt. Now, barong shirt has become one of the tourism icons of Bali.

Barong shirt are mostly produced in Gianyar region, in a village named Beng. This village is located in Gunung Agung Street, Gianyar Regency; about 2 km northern of Astina Field, Gianyar. From Denpasar City, this village is approximately 35 km or can be reached in about 45 minutes using vehicles. If you want to observe the whole process of creating barong shirt directly, you can visit this village.

The production of barong shirt in this village is done in traditional way, without any modern or advance textile machine. Actually, this activity has been carried down through generations by the residents of Beng Village, and because of the raising market demands, in the end most of this village’s residents change their profession to barong shirt producer. This shirt is made from rayon fabric. The form of the shirt is made without collar or similar to T-Shirt, with unique feature like every edges of the shirt is not sewn rather left tufted. In general, the process of making this shirt is cutting according to the specified size, coloring, and then drying. After the shirts are all dried, they are drawn with the picture of barong.

In the making process, barong shirt could be differed into two categories: barong shirt with colored fabric base and barong shirt with white fabric base. For the colored fabric, the process could take longer time because of coloring process before it is ready to be drawn. Meanwhile, for the white fabric, the process could be shorter because the picture of barong could be directly drawn without waiting for the coloring process first.

the manufacture of barong shirt baliThe first process of making colored barong shirt is sewing the fabrics according to the size needed by the market. After that, these shirts are going to be colored. They are tied, with the front and back parts are wrapped with plastic. That way is done to make a white circle pattern which will be the place for drawing barong. These wrapped parts of course will not be exposed by colors during the dyeing process, so these parts remain white. After the dyeing process is finished, the wrappers are opened, and then the shirts are washed and dried. After that, the shirts are ready to be given barong picture. Meanwhile, in the process of making white barong shirts, the barong picture can be directly drawn after the shirts are sewn based on the fix sizes. This kind of shirt’s production is faster and more efficient.

The drawing of barong on the surface of these shirts is done by some workers with particular painting skill. This picture of barong is painted using special colors. Besides that, the equipments used for painting are also special. Firstly, the pattern of barong is drawn on the shirt and after that, the coloring process is done. The painting process for these shirts must be done carefully without mistake because every stroke cannot be erased. This condition is applied for both sketching and coloring process. In the coloring process, only black and red are usually used, because before drawing, the fabrics are already given white naphthol so black will become brown and red will become yellow resulting 4 colors on the shirts.

In a day, the barong shirts makers can produce up to 150 pieces of shirts. These shirts are then distributed to Sukawati Art Market or other shopping centers around Bali. Besides distributed in local market, these shirts are also demanded from outside Bali such as Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, and so on. Not just that, these shirts are also exported to foreign countries like Australia and Netherland.

Hotel Gianyar

Buying barong shirt in traditional markets or souvenir markets is indeed easier. However, if you are interested and have a willing to observe directly the process of producing these shirts, you can always visit Beng Village. This kind of tour will surely give you a new kind of unique holiday experience in Bali.

Kerta Gosa, Traditional Court Full of Cultural Value

kerta gosa klungkung baliKerta Gosa is one of the famous tourism objects located in Klungkung Regency. This artistic place is well known by its unique traditional court. This place is located approximately 40 km to the east from Denpasar and could be reached using vehicles in approximately 45 minutes or more through Prof. Dr. Ida Bagus Mantra Bypass Street.

Kerta Gosa is a cultural tourism object which is a part of Kraton Semarapura building compex. This compex had been built in 1686 by the first King to take Klungkung’s throne, Ida I Dewa Agung Jambe. This building was used to be used as a court of justice and also as a traditional ceremony place for the royal family. Besides that, some sources said that the secondary function of this building was related to educational function. It can be seen by the existence of Wayang (Balinese puppets) paintings painted beautifully at the ceilings of the building. Reputedly, these paintings are the series of particular stories with main theme taken from Parwa, Swargarokanaparwa, and Bima Swarga which give guidance about the Karma Phala law (the law of cause and effect of good and evil human actions in his life) and about reincarnation caused by particular sins ever done.

Kerta Gosa consists of two main buildings (balé), Bale Kerta Gosa and Bale Kambang. It was named Bale Kambang due to its location on top of a pond which called “kambang” means “floating”. Both Kerta Gosa and Bale Kambang have their own uniqueness that is decorated by wonderful Wayang paintings at the ceiling. There, we can see clearly about the pictures of the kinds of punishments to the guilty.

The theme of the paintings at the ceiling of Kerta Gosa is about mental and spiritual education value. These paintings consist of six levels arranged in a tier. The most bottom row tells story of Tantri. The next tier takes the theme of Bimaswarga story from Swargarakanaparwa. The third tier tells the story about Bagawan Kasyapa. The sixth tier is about Palalindon, the ancient meteorology and geophysics which tells about the characteristics and meaning of an earthquake. In the fifth tier, there is the continuation of Bimaswarga story. In the highest tier, the life of nirvana (Gods’ place) is illustrated.

paintings on the ceiling of kerta gosaBesides on the ceiling of Kerta Gosa, wayang paintings also decorates a building next to it called Bale Kambang. However, here in Bale Kambang, the paintings illustrate the story from Kakawin Ramayana and Sutasoma. This story theme gives us the clue that Bale Kambang main function is a place for human traditional ceremony (Manusa Yadnya), called Metatah or Mepandes for royal family.

Besides those beautiful paintings, there are also other important relics in this site such as Pemedal Agung. Pemedal Agung is located on the west side of Kerta Gosa which is full of Kraton culture value and Balinese traditional architecture. In the war versus Dutch armies in 28th of April 1908, King Dewa Agung Jambe and his followers died. This memory of tragedy and struggling is now immortalized in Puputan Klungkung monument located across the Kerta Gosa. After that defeat, the main building of Kraton Semarapura was destroyed and changed into a settlement. The highest remain of this complex is Kerta Gosa, Bale Kambang with its Taman Gili and Gapura (Gate) Kraton. Besides that, because it had used as court of justice during the Dutch colonial era in Klungkung (1908-1942), some court’s equipments are still exist until now, such as wooden chairs and table with typical carvings.

Hotel Gianyar

All things in the surroundings of Kerta Gosa are the evidence of the existence of traditional customary court in the Dutch colonial periods (1908-1942) and Japanese colonial (1043-1945). In 1930, there was a restoration effort for the wayang paintings in Kerta Gosa and Bale Kambang by the professional painters from Kamasan because the old paintings were already obsolete. The last recorded restoration was in the year of 1960. Both local and foreign visitors who want to enter this area must pay Rp 15.000 for the ticket. This place is a must-see attraction if you visit Klungkung. Besides visiting and enjoying the uniqueness of traditional court in Kerta Gosa, visitors could also see the view of the town and some places near it.

Serangan Island, a Captivating Small Island of Southeast Bali

turtle island baliSerangan is a small island located approximately 5 km south of Denpasar, Bali. This 73 hectare island is 250 meters from the beach in southeastern Bali. This island is exactly located south of the well-known Sanur Beach. Administratively, Serangan Island is in the region of Denpasar City and inhabited by 3 thousand people. According to this island’s indigenes, the name “Serangan” comes from the words “sira angen” which means a felling of loving or missing something very much. The use of this name is based on the story of the Bugis sailors who often visited this island in the past. When they landed on this island to drink water they got the “sira angen” condition. It is believed that the water from this island could intrigue this kind of feeling. These sailors felt at home here and did not want to leave this island. The Bugis sailors whose religion are Islam even chose to settle in this island and lived peacefully with the local residents whose religion are Hindu. After that, they built their own settlement which is called Kampung Bugis and this settlement still exists until now.

Besides that, Serangan Island also has beautiful nature landscape, especially the sea which is rich of sea biota. The sand has sparkling golden color which made this island reputed as “Pulau Emas” or “Gold Island”. Serangan Island now is connected to Bali through a bridge. This bridge can only be passed when the tide is low, so when the high tide occurs, this bridge will not be passable. If this thing happens, the visitors of Serangan Island must use boat rented in Sanur, Suwung, or Tanjung Benoa Beach to cross over. In the past before this bridge was constructed, we need about 1 hour to reach this island by renting a fisherman’s boat. Now, we can cross the island only in 15 minutes because of the bridge.

Serangan Island is also known by as Turtle Island. This naming comes from the existence of a green turtle conservation centre in this island. At certain moments, the visitors can see and participate directly in the event of hatchlings release. There is also a vast mangroves area around this island. This mangroves area had been destroyed in the past resulting a disruption to its surrounding ecosystem. Fortunately, that condition was quickly overcome by an intense conservation effort, so now this mangroves’ preservation could be maintained.

Serangan Island is also known having amazing beach and high waves. Just like mentioned previously, the golden white sand in Serangan’s beaches is very beautiful. The high ocean wave also becomes a main attraction for the visitors. In November until April, the tide and wave can be very high, so the surfers will flock around the beach.

Sakenan Temple

sakenan temple baliBesides its wonderful landscape, Serangan Island also has a holy temple called Sakenan Temple. It is said that, this holy temple complex was built by Mpu Kuturan in the 12th Century and then continued by Danghyang Nirartha around the 15th Century. According to the legend, these two holy priests also got sira angen by the beauty and spiritual vibration of this island, so that a holy temple was built here. This temple possesses a unique architecture which is a bit similar to Luhur Uluwatu Temple on the southern tip of Bali Island. According to lontar (ancient document) “Usana Bali”, Sakenan Temple was firstly constructed by Mpu Kuturan in the era of Masula-Masuli (couple) Kingdom called Sri Dhana Dhirajalancana and Sri Dhana Dewiketu. The reign of this king was around 1178 until 1255.

Meanwhile, based on “Dwijendra Tattwa”, Sakenan Temple was built by Danghyang Nirartha when he meditated and communicated with God in this island. In his holy journey visiting beaches around Bali, Danghyang Nirartha had settled in Serangan and built the Dalem Sakenan Temple. The holy journey of Danghyang Nirartha in Bali was around 1489, so it is predicted that the Sakenan Temple was built in the 15th Century.

The story of Danghyang Nirartha’s journey had become an inspiration of Balinese Hindu. When there was a “Karya” or big ceremony in Sakenan Temple which comes in Kuningan Day, Balinese flocked to this temple. In the past, the visitors of this island must use boat or raft to cross over the sea. When the tide is low, the visitors must be ready to walk around 2 kilometers passing bushes and mangroves. This tradition had gone from time to time until the the bridge connecting Bali Island and Serangan Island was constructed.

nusa dua hotel

Now, this tradition does not exist anymore because crossing is a lot easier by the bridge. Unfortunately, the reclamation project done to this island has taken the predicate of “Golden Island” away from this island. The reclamation has changed the overlay of soft golden sand of the beach into a field full of blinding white rough limestone.

Kuningan Day

pray at kuningan dayKuningan Day is celebrated 10 days after Galungan. Same with Galungan, Kuningan is celebrated every 210 days or every 6 month in Balinese calendar which 1 month consists of 35 days. The exact day for Kuningan is Saniscara (Saturday) Kliwon Wuku Kuningan. In this holy Kuningan Day it is said that Ida Sang Hyang Widhi (God) comes to the earth to give his blessing for human race. Balinese Hindu people believe that the ceremony for Kuningan Day must not pass midday, before the God and ancestors’ spirits go back to heaven. There are some typical equipments or offerings for Kuningan Day such as “Nasi Kuning” or yellow rice, “Endongan” as a symbol of offering to God / Hyang Widhi, “Tamyang” as a symbol of danger repellent, and “Kolem” as a symbol of resting place for Gods and ancestors’ spirits.

These equipments also have own meaning such as nasi kuning which symbolizes the prosperity; Tamyang becomes a reminder for the importance of nature law; If we maintain and preserve the nature, it will give us prosperity, but if we do not do so, it will give us disasters; Endongan symbolizes supplies. The most important supply in life is the knowledge and devotion. Thus, by the celebration of Kuningan Day, Hindu, especially in Bali is expected to maintain peaceful life.

Different from Galungan Day, in Kuningan Day people are not obligated to pray in all temples around their village especially if the distance of the temple from home is far. The celebration of this day could also be done at home because it is related to the short duration of this holiday which is only until midday. However, some people still come and pray to the temples around their village just like in Galungan Day, even though it must be started early in the morning so that they do not pass the midday. It could be concluded that the main meaning of Kuningan Day is to beg for safety, prosperity, welfare, protection, and guidance from Hyang Widhi Wasa and the spirits of ancestors.

Makotek / Ngrebeg, a Unique Tradition every Kuningan

makotek hari raya kuninganFor the tourists, this Makotek tradition will be very interesting to be visited if you are in Bali at Kuningan Day. Makotek / Ngrebeg tradition could only be seen in Munggu Village, Mengwi, Badung. This tradition is a kind of cultural legacy which have been done since the glorious era of Mengwi Kingdom who in the past conquered wide are including East Java. Reputedly, makotek was a celebration party for commemorating the victory of Mengwi Kingdom over Blambangan Kingdom from Banyuwangi, East Java. Until now, this tradition is still celebrated with purpose to ask for God’s blessing, health, and protection for Munggu Village itself. Makotek is celebrated every 6 month in Saniscara (Saturday) Wuku Kuningan which is the day of Kuningan.

Usually, before this procession is started, the participants are asked to pray in Desa Temple. There are requirements for a person to be able to join this procession. First, if there is a man whose family member or relative passes away, he cannot join. Besides that, a man whose his wife is giving birth is also not allowed to join. The name of Makotek itself is derived from the name of bamboos or woods which are collided each other when combined into a form of mountain. So, when these bamboos hit the others they creates a sound of “tek.. tek.. tek..” which is the source of this unique tradition naming.

Actuallu, this tradition was named Grebek which means “keep pushing”. In its process, Makotek is done by hundreds of men from Munggu Village. The age of the participants is also varied starting from 13 until 60. When it is started, each woods or bamboos measuring 3.5 meters will be taken by one participant. Hundreds of those bamboos will be gathered into one forming a cone-like shape. After that, one of the bravest participants will climb this formation and stay on top of the cone. On the other hand, other participants also create the same formation, and one of them also climbs the bamboos and stay on top of it. These two groups will then face each other just like a war. Although this tradition is risky, people are enthusiastic in joining this unique procession. It is often found that these people fall from the top of the formation. However, there are never serious injuries gotten that could make this event stopped.

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This tradition is quite known by some tourists, so when the time comes this village will be crowded by both tourists and participants. So, if you are interested in watching this unique tradition, you can directly come to Munggu Village, Mengwi, Badung right in the Kuningan Day.

Galungan Day – The Celebration of Virtue’s Victory

galungan prayBali Island was in joy celebrating Galungan Day. Bali seemed to be decorated by various Galungan typical traditional trinkets such as penjor (decorated bamboo), banten (offerings), and many more. Galungan Day is one of the big holidays for Balinese Hindu which is celebrated every 210 days according to pawukon calendar system. This day is always celebrated at Wednesday pancawara Kliwon, wuku Dungulan. Actually, the name “Galungan” is derived from ancient Javanese (Bahasa Jawa Kuno) means “victory” or “fighting”. Galungan also has similar meaning to “Dungulan”, which also means “victory”. In Java, the eleventh wuku is called Wuku Galungan, meanwhile in Bali the eleventh wuku is called Wuku Dungulan. They are different in the spelling, but each still has the same meaning. In this pawukon, Galungan is celebrated; according to its name and meaning.

Galungan Day means to commemorate and celebrate the victory of Dharma (virtue) over Adharma (evil). Galungan gives spiritual power for human to be able to distinguish acts which is belong to adharma or belong to the voice of truth (dharma) inside human’s soul. Galungan has different series of ceremonies which are done before and after Galungan itself. In general, some of those ceremonies are mentioned below.

Penyekeban

Redite (Sunday), Paing, Wuku Dungulan, or 3 days before Galungan is the day when Sang Bhuta Galungan comes to the earth to tempt human doing adharma / evil. In this day, we are expected to worship God Siwa so that we are protected from the vices. In this day, the ladies will start to stock up fruits for offerings and make “tapé” (fermented rice or cassava) which is called as “nyekeb” which is also the symbol of strengthen ourselves.

Penyajaan

tape ketanSoma (Monday), Pon, Wuku Dungulan, or 2 days before Galungan is the day for Sang Bhuta Dungulan to come to the earth tempting human to do vices even more. At this time, people will start to make “jaja” (traditional cake) which is also called “nyajaang”. Nyajaang could also mean to sincere.

Penampahan

roasted pigAnggara (Tuesday), Wage, Wuku Dungulan, or 1 day before Galungan is the day when Sang Bhuta Amangkurat strongly tempts human to do vice more than before. We are expected to be able to defeat the power of those three Bhutas (Bhuta Galungan, Bhuta Dungulan, and Bhuta Amangkurat). Symbolically, it is done by slaughtering pig or so called “nampah”. Nampah could also mean “nampa” or an act of sincerely welcome the arrival of Sanghyang Dharma or the God of Virtue. Pig is the symbol of laziness, so killing pig could also mean killing laziness natures.

In the evening, “penjor” is plugged into the ground in front of everybody’s house. Penjor is a kind of decorated bamboo as a symbol of thank to the God for His prosperity. Thus, penjor is decorated with harvests such as fruits, tubers, or cakes and clothes like white and yellow clothes. Besides that, penjor is also a symbol for worshipping Hyang Maha Meru for His blessings in form of Dharma powers. These powers are formed into Catur Weda (Four Vedas) which each of them is symbolized as follows:

1. Lamak symbolizes Rig Veda,
2. bakang-bakang symbolizes Atharva Veda,
3. tamiang symbolizes Sama Veda,
4. sampian symbolizes Yajur Veda.

Actually, each element of penjor has its own meaning. However, now we can see so many penjors are made using unnatural materials which could be bought instantly. Moreover, some people are competing to decorate their penjor as majestic as it can to be shown off and to be used only for gaining prestige without caring for the process and the meaning behind it. In fact, this kind of trend contradicts the concept of penjor itself. Penjor is also one of the offerings for God so it must be done sincerely without other motives.

Galungan

Buda (Wednesday), Kliwon, Wuku Dungulan, is the celebration day of human’s victory over the kinds of evil from themselves and from Bhutas or evil creatures. The Gods and Goddesses come to the earth to bless human race. All people will pray in public temple, or house temple to express their gratitude to Hyang Widhi or God.

Manis Galungan Wraspati (Thursday), Umanis, Wuku Dungulan, or 1 day after Galungan is the time for doing Dharma Santi. Dharma Santi is visiting families and relatives to celebrate the holiday and apologize for the mistakes which might have done in the past.

It is a bit hard to find the obvious history of Galungan Day. Galungan had been celebrated for a long time by Hindu in Indonesia even before it is popularly celebrated in Bali. According to ancient inscriptions such as Panji Amalat Rasmi (Jenggala era), Galungan had been celebrated in the 11th century in East Java. In the last era of Majapahit Kingdom in 16th century, this kind of celebration had also been done.

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Whatever the history was, the fact is that Galungan is an interesting and attractive moment to be enjoyed by the tourists. The line of decorated penjor along the road, the uniqueness of the ceremonies, and the bustle of Balinese praying in the temples around their village are the typical view that you can only find in the Island of God.

Ogoh-Ogoh

ogoh ogohOgoh-ogoh is very identical with Nyepi Day in Bali. It can be said that ogoh-ogoh is the most interesting event among the series of Nyepi Ceremony. Ogoh-ogoh are paraded in the Pengrupukan night, which is a day before the Saka New Year or so called Nyepi Day. Ogoh-ogoh whose appearance is very scary is usually paraded around the village or town by the Banjar or traditional village society which is dominated by the youth.

Ogoh-ogoh is a kind of statue / giant doll which is made of light materials such as the combination of wood, bamboo, paper, and styrofoam so it is easy to be lifted and paraded. With the development or technology and materials, people prefer using styrofoam because of its lightweight and easiness to be carved and processed, but of course it costs more. Ogoh-ogoh is made in form of Bhuta Kala or evil spirits and creatures who like to disturb human’s life. Bhuta Kala is usually symbolized as a giant creature / Rakshasa with scary and ferocious appearance. Bhuta Kala is the kind of evil creatures which possessed bad nature in them. In Hindu and Buddha mythology, it is said that the word “rakshasa” means “cruelty”, which is the opposite of the word “raksha” which means “tranquility”. By parading ogoh-ogoh and in the end burn or destroy it, it is expected that those vices could be kept away from human race.

Besides taking Rakshasa form, ogoh-ogoh is also often symbolized in other forms such as mythological creature like Garuda, dragon, etcetera, and forms of God and Goddess like God Siwa, Ganesha, or Durgha. Nowadays, there are even ogoh-ogoh portraying famous people, celebrities, or villains. Despite of entertaining, actually this thing is a bit deviated from the concept of ogoh-ogoh which should show mythological evil creatures. However, some artists who created this kind of ogoh-ogoh argued that now people also have dominated by evil spirit and have done so many bad things such as terrorist or corruptor. They think that those vices must also be destroyed and kept away from human.

The History of Ogoh-ogoh

The name ogoh-ogoh is taken from Balinese “ogah-ogah” which means something which is shaken. In fact, when ogoh-ogoh is paraded around it is always shaken by the carriers of ogoh-ogoh to make it looks like moving or dancing. Besides that, the pose of one ogoh-ogoh to the others is different and various, so each will have different moves when it is shaken. Even, now with the development of technology, many ogoh-ogoh can be moved assisted by machine or other tools.

parade ogoh ogoh

skeleton ogoh ogoh

There are so many version of ogoh-ogoh history in Bali. Some people argued that ogoh-ogoh have been known since the era of Dalem Balingkang (ancient Balinese kingdom). At that time, ogoh-ogoh is used in the procession of Pitra Yadnya or so called Ngaben. There is also another argument stated that the existence of ogoh-ogoh is inspired by the tradition Ngusaba Ndong-Nding from Selat Village, Karangasem which also used a similar figure to repel evil spirit. Another statement is that Barong Landung is the one inspired the creation of ogoh-ogoh. Barong Landung is a kind of giant barong which is a manifestation of a scary ancient king and queen named Raden Datonta and Sri Dewi Baduga. However, the most certain fact is that ogoh-ogoh was started to be named “ogoh-ogoh” since 1980’s. At that time, it was also the first time Nyepi included in the list of national holiday. Then, Balinese started to create the figure of onggokan which was called ogoh-ogoh in some part of Denpasar. After that, this culture spread wider into all Bali and then also firstly involved in the parade of Pesta Kesenian Bali XII (Balinese Art Festival XII).

Ogoh-ogoh Festival

Usually, before the Pengrupukan night, an ogoh-ogoh festival will be held in Puputan Park Denpasar. Ogoh-ogoh which could enter into this event are selected from some region of Denpasar. This event is hold to honor and appreciate the creation of ogoh-ogoh which possesses high art and theme value. Ogoh-ogoh which are entered this festival are not haphazardly taken, because they have been undergone a selection process. These ogoh-ogoh must have high value of art, theme, and entertainment. The theme which is usually used is around the story of Wayang (Ramayana or Mahabaratha) of other Hindu stories. Besides that, when they arrive in the area of Catur Muka Crossroad Puputan, the lifters and their crews must show a dance show or attraction which tell the story or theme of their ogoh-ogoh in front of the judges.

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Ogoh-ogoh festival in Puputan is usually held a few hours before Sandi Kala or evening. After the festival overs, Pengrupukan night is continued with ogoh-ogoh parade from villages or banjar around the area of Denpasar. In other regencies beside Denpasar like Gianyar, Tabanan, or Buleleng, ogoh-ogoh festival is also periodically held. However, sometimes the festival is not done in Pengrupukan, but in particular events such as Town Anniversary, and so on.

Nyepi, Balinese Saka New Year Celebration

nyepi ceremonyPeople in Bali had celebrated their Saka (Hindu calendar system) new year. Not like the celebration of usual New Year’s Eve which is full of party and fest, this event is celebrated in total silent and peace.

This celebration is known as Nyepi. As its name implies, Nyepi means making total silent. At Nyepi, Balinese Hindu people do Catur Brata Penyepian or Four Prohibition which must be done. It creates a unique situation when Bali Island is really silent and empty like a dead town. What kind of unique ceremonies are done before and after Nyepi? What is actually the Four Prohibition? Let us take a closer look.

Meaning and History

Nyepi comes from word sepi which means quiet or silent. All Balinese will stay inside their home all day so every activity in Bali is dismissed for a while, except hospital. Just like mentioned previously, this holiday is done with silent and self reflection. Thus, in Nyepi every Hindu person in Bali does a self reflection for what they have done since last year and then prepare for a new year as a better and holier human.

This tradition was firstly started in 78 BC as a celebration of New Year event. Nyepi is commemorated in the Tilem Kesanga (the ninth month in Saka year system) which is believed as the best time to get closer to God. Besides that, Tilem Kesanga is also believed as a time when the Gods come to the earth bringing life holy-water juga (tirta amerta) for human being.

melasti ceremony

ogoh ogoh

Melasti Ceremony

Before Nyepi comes, Balinese Hindu People will do Melasti / Melis / Mekiyis ceremony which is aimed for purifying and cleaning the Bhuana Alit (human body) and Bhuana Agung (the universe). This ceremony is usually done within one week before Nyepi when every society inside village or Banjar brings their temple’s holy equipments to any holy place with flowing water like sea, lake, or river. By splashing the tirta (holy water) from those water sources, it is expected that the water could purify the universe and the body of human itself.

Bhuta Yadnya and Pengerupukan Ceremony

One day before Nyepi, there is a Bhuta Yadnya ceremony which is done to repel the evil spirit or so called Bhuta Kala from everybody’s environment. Before evening, Balinese will do Pecaruan ceremony which is aimed for the evil spirits so that they do not disturb the universe’s balance. After that, in the evening until midnight, there will be Pengerupukan ceremony when people will do Ogoh-Ogoh parade all over Bali. Ogoh-Ogoh is a kind of giant statue or doll in form of ferocious Bhuta Kala. Ogoh-Ogoh is usually paraded around the village or town by the local residents. Actually, the Pengerupukan night is the most interesting part of Nyepi ceremony series, because the Ogoh-Ogoh are usually very attractive and artistic. Moreover, the sound of Gambelan Beleganjur (Balinese orchestra) and the line of youth bringing bamboo torch give more flamboyant atmosphere. Maybe, if it is counted there will be thousands of Ogoh-Ogoh in whole Bali. In the end of the parade, Ogoh-ogoh is burnt or destroyed as a symbol for Bhuta Kala or evil spirit annihilation.

Nyepi

Nyepi is started at 6 in the morning after Pengerupukan night and will be lasting until 6 in the next morning. All Hindu people in Bali is obligated to do Catur Brata Penyepian consist of four prohibition.

Amati Geni

Do not light fire (including electricity)

Amati Karya

Do not work. Enhance spiritual cleansing, instead.

Amati Lelungan

Do not travel or go out of your home. Do self reflection, contemplate on every act that you have done and will be done.

Amati Lelanguan

Do not revel (including eating). Concentrate your mind only to God, instead.

At Nyepi, Bali will be in total silent. There will be no activity, no noise. Maybe there will be only activity of Pecalang (traditional security) patrolling around and activity of hospital which, however, must continue its operation. At night, Bali Island will be in total dark because there is no one turning on the light. At this moment, you will find what the true peace is. Imagine that in a whole day, Bali has reduced the number of pollution and other kinds of nature contamination.

Ngembak Geni Ceremony

Ngembak Geni is done after Nyepi Day. In this day, Balinese will do Dharma Shanty or visiting family and relatives to strengthen the good relation. This is a kind of positive start that Balinese do in the New Year.

hotel in bali

The series of Nyepi Ceremony had actually designed well by our ancestors to honor the universe and everything inside it. Started from Melasti, when we can purify ourselves and our surroundings; then continued by Bhuta Yadnya, when the evil spirits repelled so that the peace on universe could be maintained. After that, Nyepi Day, a special day for nature to “rest,” far from pollution, noise, and exploitation. Finally, ended by Ngembak Geni which is aimed to maintain the good relation between human and to realize peace. Nyepi is indeed a celebration, but a celebration full of peace and tranquility. Given not only to human, but also the whole universe.

Interact with Birds and Reptiles in Bali Bird Park

bali bird parkBali Bird Park or also known as “Taman Burung Bali” is located in Singapadu Village, Sukawati District, Gianyar, Bali. This bird and reptile park is one of the biggest in Indonesia and one of main attractions in Gianyar Regency. The location of this park is not too far from Denpasar City; about 12 km east with 40-60 minute travelling time. It is located in the area of wood and rock statues centre; Batubulan and the gold and silver handicraft centre; Celuk.

This tourism object was firstly opened in 1995 on a 2 hectare land inside the village of Singapadu. Since the beginning, this bird park has had commitment to be able to conserve the species of birds and reptiles from the threat of extinction. Bali Bird Park has 1000 bird collections, from 250 different species. These birds are not only originated from Indonesia, but also from foreign countries. Thus, besides seeing Indonesian endemic rare birds like cendrawasih, cassowaries, peacock, Javan Hawk Eagle, or Bali Starling, you can also observe some foreign birds such as pelican, toucan, African parrot, and so on. Every day, this park could be visited by 300 – 400 visitors. That number will increase significantly in the holiday seasons. Bali Bird Park is indeed one of the favorite tourism objects for tourists who come to Bali with family and children.

Besides observing many kinds of birds inside cage or outside cage, you can also take photographs with them in the special corner provided. There is also bird breeding centre where you can see eggs of birds, observe the process of hatching, and feed these cute birds. Besides that, there is also a 4D (4 Dimension) theater where you can watch interesting movie with amazing and real effect.

If you feel thirsty and hungry after walking around this bird park, you can visit restaurant and café which serve various food and beverages. The atmosphere of the location itself is good enough because you can eat while seeing both little and big birds roaming around the park. There is also souvenir shop selling some Bali Bird Park’s stuffs. The show does not only stop there. Adjacent to Bali Bird Park, there is also a place for conserving various reptiles which is called Bali Rimba Reptile. For entering this place you do not need to buy ticket again because the ticket for Bali Bird Park also allows you to enter this place.

bali bird park gianyar

bali bird park singapadu gianyar

The animals on Bali Rimba Reptile are second to none if we compared to Bali Bird Park. Here, you can see amazing reptiles starting from crocodiles, komodo, various kinds of frogs, snakes, turtles, iguana, and a lot more. If in Bali Bird Park you can take photograph with birds, here you can also take photograph with iguana, turtle, or lizard. Despite of their scary looks, these animals are apparently so friendly.

Here are the daily events which you can visit in Bali Bird Park:

1. Interactive Feeding Time
An event where you can feed various birds or watch smart birds doing attractions.

2. Guyu – Guyu Corner
A special place for taking photograph with friendly beautiful birds. You can put them on your arms, shoulder, or even head.

3. Free Flight Bird Show
A show for carnivore birds such as eagle, owl, or macaw in catching their prey. You can also try to feed them directly from your hand.

4. Bali Nursery
A place for breeding and conserving rare birds’ hatchling.

5. Meet the Bird Star
An event where you can see a lot of birds roaming and flying free in a park. There is also a herd of ducks and cock fighting show.

This is the complete schedule of events in Bali Bird Park and Bali Rimba Reptile :

1. Reptilarium
Time : 09.00 – 17.30

2. Papua Rainforest Feeding
Time : 9.30 & 12.45

3. Lory Feeding
Time : Sepanjang hari

4. Pelican Feeding
Time : 10.00 & 13.15

5. The Komodo Experience
Time : Tuesday at 11.00 And Friday at 14.30

6. Basic Instinct And Bird of Prey Show
Time : 11.30 & 15.00

7. Bali Rainforest And Free Flight Bird Show
Time : 10.30 & 16.00

8. Meet the Bird Star And Bali Starling Restaurant
Time : 12.00, 13.30, 16.30

9. Cinema 4 D
Time : Every day over 10.00

10. Guyu – Guyu Corner
Time : Hands on Birds All day long

Hotel Gianyar

This schedule is official, but could change anytime according to situation. Visiting Bali Bird Park & Bali Rimba Reptile will not be enough in only a couple of hours. The variety of animals and attractions will make you reluctant to leave this place early.

Taman Ayun, an Inheritance of Mengwi Kingdom

If you are having holiday in Bali and want to find a new atmosphere out from the bustle of Kuta, its beach, and entertainments, you may need to visit the northern part of Badung Regency where you can find some quieter places. This region is indeed adjacent to the other regencies like Gianyar and Tabanan, so you can also visit other tourism objects in these regencies in one go. One of the famous tourism objects in Northern Badung area is Taman Ayun.

Taman Ayun is a cultural tourism object located in Mengwi Village, Badung Regency, Bali. From the center of Denpasar City, this place could be reached in 30 minutes or around 20 km in distance. Taman Ayun is a kind of resort palace / park which is functioned also as a worshipping place. This area is an important historical inheritance of Mengwi Kindom. Besides that, outside area of Taman Ayun, there is also Manusa Yadnya Museum who provides its visitors some stuffs used in Manusa Yadnya (Balinese traditional ritual for specialized human), starting from the rituals when human is still in the womb until he/she dies.

Taman Ayun was built in 1634 by the King of Mengwi, I Gusti Agung Ngurah Made Agung. At first, this place was a private resort park for the royal family of Mengwi Kingdom. A few centuries later, this kingdom was conquered by Badung Kingdom so this place was not private property of Mengwi royal family anymore. At that time, this park was used for traditional entertainments and also a place for “tajen” (cockfighting). That is why, if you now walk around the area of Taman Ayun, you will see some rosters exhibited in firm and artistic cages. Besides that, Taman Ayun is also surrounded by artificial river and also planted with several Balinese rare plants.

taman ayun temple bali

taman ayun bali

Just like the common Balinese temple structure, this place also consists of three part / level, Nista Mandala (most outside part), Madya Mandala (middle part), and Utama Mandala (main or core part which is also the location of the holy temple). In the Nista Mandala, the artificial river is located surrounding the whole area of Taman Ayun. To enter this place, there is only one gate to be passed and could be only entered by passing a bridge. After entering the gate, you will directly see the Madya Mandala where a vast green park is located completed with beautiful pond and fountain in the middle. Besides that, there is also “Bale Pertunjukkan” or Show Hall where you can see a small stage in the middle of it. There are some human statues there, posing the activity of tajen. There is also “Bale Kulkul” which is located on the western side park and “Bale Daja” on the eastern side. Bale Kulkul is a tower with 15 meter height. Kulkul is actually a kind of big bell made of wood which is sounded for calling people to gather if there is an important announcement, village meeting, or it could be also sounded to signal a danger. If you want to see the whole panorama of Taman Ayun from height, you can climb this tower. Meanwhile, the “Bale Daja” is a kind of a big resting place which is used to hold the meeting or used as the place for Sekeha Gong (Balinese musical orchestra) to play when the ceremony in this temple comes. In the main part or Utama Mandala, there is Taman Ayun Temple with 20 x 20 meters width. This temple is surrounded by beautiful lotus pond. Unfortunately, no visitor is allowed entering this temple to keep its holiness. Inside this tempele, there is also a Padmasana Singgasana Sang Hyang Tri Murthi, which is the worshipping place for the three main Gods of Hindu (Brahma, Wisnu, and Siwa). There are around 50 beautiful merus in this temple. Meru is a place for placing the offerings or called “banten” if there is a religious ceremony.

hotel in tabanan

If it is compared to the other temples in Bali, Taman Ayun Temple has its own uniqueness. If in the other temples the meru has 5 or 9 roof tiers, in Taman Ayun Temple the meru has 11 roof tiers or usually called as meru tumpang solas. This kind of meru is usually used in the royal or noble families’ temples, and not intended for public. The reason is that every meru in this temple was built to honor their ancestors.

Besides its function as a holy temple for Balinese, Taman Ayun could also be visited as a family excursion place, and also photography site because of its beauty and historical value. If you are visiting the Northern part of Badung Regency, make sure you visit this place soon.